The Dog Liberator™

The Dog Liberator rescues abandoned dogs throughout the Southeast. Based in Central Florida, this non-profit organization fosters all of their dogs in a home environment. Founded in 2009, all dogs are fully vetted, spayed or neutered prior to adoption. The Dog Liberator focuses in rescuing the herding breed, which consists of Border Collies, Shepherds, Sheepdogs, Aussies, Collies, and Deaf/Blind Dogs.

Volunteering 101

Volunteering 101
Wyatt Earp with Madison

It’s not just about fostering or doing doggie doo doo duty!

When you visit my TDL Peeps page, you’ll see a gallery of photos of our awesome volunteers.  What do they do?   You name it!  No matter how small or how enormous the job is, if you want to volunteer for your local shelter, pound, or rescue, you can!  Even if you want to volunteer for a rescue that is far from you, with the internet at your fingertips, there’s nothing you can’t do!

Supporting your Favorite Rescue, let me count the ways:


Several months ago, Anita’s vet, Dr. Elliot Stetzer with Central Animal Hospital decided he was going to switch products, and had a case of unwanted flea preventative!  Anita snatched it for us!  Thank you Anita!

Andrea Rigler’s friend, Maren Jensen of Keegan’s Corner donated gorgeous custom-made collars, and let me tell you, they are stunning!  Thank you Maren!

Last July I posted the need for used crates, and out of nowhere, Kimberley Nykanen donated four brand new crates to me, and believe it or not, I put them to use right away when I picked up the backyard breeder dogs.  These new crates allowed me to give my larger crates to other fosters who really needed them.  Thanks Kimberley!

Sarah’s Transport Buddies


Although Sarah White-Bauxbaum wishes she could adopt and/or foster, her current situation does not allow that option, so for almost a year now, Sarah has been transporting for us… transporting from Orlando to Ocala, to Volusia County, and even to Clearwater.  Sarah has created a Blog about being a volunteer transporter, hoping others will see the joy and importance of this act of kindness in the rescue community.  I don’t know what we’d do without Sarah!

To date, most of our volunteer transporters and fosters are former adopters.  People like Laura Watson, Marjie Wolfe, Erica Brilliant, Anita Barber, Megan Richardson, and I can go on and on with dozens of names.



I don’t know where to start because fostering was something I thought I’d never achieve.  By December of 2009, I had re-homed dozens of dogs, I was on my own, and very overwhelmed.  A few people contacted me and offered to foster, and when Holly returned from Jacksonville in May of 2010, she too wanted to get back into rescue.

We support our foster homes with whatever it is they need to be successful.  Our dogs are rarely in foster care for more than one month, which gives our fosters breaks.  Fosters like Amy Benz, Khaz Brooks and Vicki Truelove rescue with very little supervision, they have access to everything The Dog Liberator has to offer.  If I was still the only foster like I was back in December, 2009, I would’ve never been able to save over 400 dogs to date.  Supporting and training our fosters is what makes us different.

Cristina & Luis with Shane

There are many behind-the-scenes fosters that few even know about, for example, Lynne Flannery.  Lynne has fostered dozens of dogs for me, and I hope all of you meet her at our next reunion!

Cristina & Luis thought they wanted to adopt a dog from us, and offered to foster (shown right with Shane).  To date, that have fostered at least five dogs in just a few short months!  Just like many in rescue, they have taken a break from fostering for a while!

Recently, Kevin & Mel who adopted the Spice Girls insisted that they give back, get involved, and experience the joy of fostering.  They have fostered Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp and many more! Way to go Kevin & Mel!

Office Equipment and Technology:

Many supporters have offered cameras, video cameras, printers, computers and monitors for our rescue, and they have all been appreciated!

Vicki Truelove


Both Vicki Truelove and Paul Pipitone are trainers and behaviorists, and when I have a question, they are always available to provide suggestions!

We are blessed to have agility experts who help us evaluate our dogs, along with Disc Experts, like Jason & Andrea Rigler!  We are very excited about our new relationship with Mark Lucas with Soccer Collies!




Love to Shop?

A few months ago, my long-time friend, Susan Berry, founder of Chubby Chicks Health Club, was cruising the thrift stores and when she stumbled across a ton of Halloween doggie costumes!  She bought them all and dropped them off to me just a few days ago.  I’m going to be shipping them off to our fosters and hope that we can really create a hilarious photo album!  Thanks Susan!


Emily Kennedy

At this time, my friend and neighbor, Emily Kennedy comes to my home several times a week to input Adoption information, micro chip numbers, fill out micro chip registration forms, make folders, file folders, email adopters, update our calendar, and soon we will be entering all of this information in an online database.  Emily is unbelievable!  She knows every dog’s name, when it was adopted, who adopted the dog, and the dog’s history!

Veterinary Care:

Can you introduce your rescue to your vet and help create a relationship?  Many times we have fosters who volunteer in a certain area where we do not have any relationships with local area vets.  Months ago, Larry & Joyce Ashlock introduced us to their vet, and it made a huge difference.  We now have an awesome relationship with Country Oaks Animal Hospital & Boarding Kennel, and they have done an outstanding job taking are of our dogs!

Speaking of Vets:

We are always looking for vets who are ready to help our rescue, and without our vets, we couldn’t possibly be effective.  The team at Aloma Jancy and Val-u-Vet are always there for us, saving dogs and maintaining our core principals.

Mr. Breeze by Olivia


There is a real need for great photographers and now videotographers.  Here’s a great article posted on CBS News explaining why!  I believe that bad shelter photos prevent dogs from being saved.  This is why my rescue takes literally dozens of photos of each of our dogs, always thriving to get that one awesome shot that represents the dog’s spirit.  Our photographers, like Cristina Nieves, Olivia Frost, and Dianna Noreen have really made a difference in capturing a our dogs thus getting them more attention.  Today, our shelter and transport volunteers provide us with a huge advantage when they take photos of the actual journey from beginning to end.  As our dogs inch their way to safety, our volunteers photograph each leg, which includes photographs of each volunteer, from town to town until they reach their temporary destination – foster care!  It’s quite amazing!

Spice Girl in the Tub!


What Else?

If you’re a dog groomer, why not consider dedicating a portion of your time for your favorite shelter, pound, or rescue?

So, what can do you for your favorite rescue?  Can you offer to do home visits?  Drive dogs to and from the vet?  Run errands, or make phone calls?

If you’re handy on Facebook, you can offer to post updates for your favorite group.

Volunteers Supporting Shelters & Pounds:

I have been blessed working with people like Becky Harshman who volunteers for Chilton County’s Humane Society, Dale Parent from Texas, who volunteers for Athens Dog Pound in Alabama.  Hope Master of Florida who volunteers for shelters in Georgia.  How can this be?  It happens!  Once you select a shelter in a rural area, one where dogs have a slim chance of being adopted, you can make a difference by connecting with rescues, identifying volunteers, coordinating transports, raising funds to sponsor dogs, and creating relationships with shelter volunteers by introducing adoptable dogs.

Marjie Wolfe, for example, focuses on her local area shelter in Brevard County.  Although Amy Benz has rescued dogs from all over the Southeast, she also supports and visits her shelter in Citrus County, FL.  Kathy Keith focuses on Gordon County, GA and Vicki Truelove assists the shelter at Hall County, GA.

Dedicating yourself to a specific shelter or geographic location really does help everyone, especially the dogs!

Kathy Keith with the Spice Girls


Transporters nationwide work together getting dogs out of shelters to waiting rescues.  Pilots-N-Paws welcomes volunteer pilots that do the same.  There are so many networks of volunteer transporters out there.  All of them mimic the original efforts created by Brandy Holleran founder of of OTRA.  OTRA (On the Road Again) created an innovative way of creating yahoo groups, identifying volunteers and putting together legged transports.  This effort was published in a book called “Fifteen Legs: When all that stands between death and freedom is a ride“.  Today, thousands of volunteer groups work together moving dogs that are at risk to the safe haven of rescues.  Whether you can drive 20 minutes, 200 miles, or 2,000 miles, transporters truly make a difference in rescue.


Cross-posting can be an effective way to match a shelter dog to rescue.  The birth of the internet, sites like Petfinder, and Facebook have all made a powerful impact of saving dogs.  However, cross-posters who forward massive amounts of emails every day, are literally marked as spam by rescuers, and their emails go straight to the delete folder.  Cross-posters who take the time to forward dogs that are a fit both by breed and geographic location are very important to rescues.

To date, I have at least a dozen cross-posters who, even after I have requested that they remove my email address from their list, forward hundreds of emails each day.  Waking up to thousands of emails identifying dogs I can’t rescue is, unfortunately, a waste of time.

Effective cross-posters not only take care in creating geographic-specific and breed-specific mailing lists to rescues, but are also available to answer questions and obtain additional information for both the shelter and the rescue.  Effective cross-posters serve as a liaison for both the shelter and the rescue, and that simple and quick introduction can be all it takes to save a dog from euthanasia, when it’s done right.


Sarah with China and Baby Ga Ga

It’s been only two years since I started to rescue, and The Dog Liberator has identified and tapped into multiple solutions that can increase effectiveness, and efficiency.  We are always looking for great people who can volunteer a few hours of their time a week.  Breaking apart complicated tasks into manageable chunks has been the key to our success, not to mention I love to delegate, even my children volunteer for the dogs!   If you think you can find a few hours to spare and would like to help, please email me at

Here’s a great article published regarding tax breaks for volunteers.

We have so many awesome volunteers now, and I can’t possibly mention them all in one post, so to all of you, thank you for everything you do and all you have done for TDL in the past!



One thought on “Volunteering 101

  1. nicely done article… every little bit helps when it comes to volunteering. From donating a dollar, to adopting “just One” for its whole life, all the way to running a great rescue group! No help is too small… no goal is too large… Keep on keeping on, and help where your heart leads you!

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